Bottle Growing System

The Bottle Growing System (BGS) is a low-costs growing system. Made from recycled soda bottles this system is simple, cheap, and easy to use. The Bottle Growing System is a hydroponics system; the plants water from the reservoir below. Up to twelve Fast Plants(TM) in a 2-liter Bottle Growing System is ideal. This system works well for both group and individual projects with Fast Plants(TM).


  • one 2-liter soda bottle (1-liter bottle can also be used for a smaller growing system)
  • one bottle cap or aluminum foil and rubberband to cover bottle opening
  • awl, tapered reamer, or other tool for making a hole in the bottle cap or aluminum foil
  • wicking material-fabric interfacing or cotton string
  • planting medium (a soilless mixture of approximately 1 part peat moss and 1 part vermiculite, e.g. peatlite, or Scotts Redi Earth®)
  • fertilizer: Solid pellets (OsmocoteTM) - added during planting or liquid fertilizer (Peters ProfessionalTM Fertilizer) - mixed and kept in the water reservoir throughout the life cycle (or during experimental times)
  • Wisconsin Fast Plants(TM)TM seeds (One packet of 200 seeds should be sufficient for 24 bottles.)
  • water

Bottle System Construction

Step 1Remove label from the 2-liter bottle. Cut bottle 1 cm below shoulder.

Bottle #1

Step 2Poke or drill a 1 cm hole in bottle cap.

Alternatively, rubberband several layers of aluminum foil across the opening and poke a hole in the foil.

Step 3 – Thread a thoroughly wet wick strip through bottle top, invert top, and set into base. Wick should reach bottom of reservoir and thread loosely through cap (or aluminum foil).

Step 4 – Fill reservoir with water. Add soil and seeds to top chamber. To be effective, the wick should run up into soil, not be plastered along a side of the bottle and not extend above the soil. For better drainage, place a shallow layer of gravel, sand or vermiculite in the bottom of the soil unit.

Download a pdf file with complete, illustrated growing instructions, including how to use a Growing System constructed from deli containers

This page adapted with permission from Bottle Biology at